The veteran, who died in 1986, will be honored at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Monday.
GIRARD -- After graduating from Boardman High School in 1961, James Herman Cosier joined the U.S. Air Force. In 1964, he was sent to Vietnam.
Before Cosier left for his tour of duty, he began making payments on an engagement ring for his girlfriend, Marilyn Wellendorf.
When he returned from Vietnam, the couple married and had three children.
In 1986, just shy of their 21st wedding anniversary, Jim died of small cell cancer of the lungs at age 43.
"It is a cancer common in Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange," said Marilyn, who lives in Girard.
On Monday, Marilyn, her three children, eight grandchildren and a contingent of friends and family will attend the seventh annual In Memory Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
One hundred and thirty-seven war veterans will be honored posthumously.
"The event pays tribute to those who died prematurely because of noncombat injuries and emotional suffering caused directly by the Vietnam War," said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The addition of this year's honorees takes the In Memory honor roll up to more than 1,500 individuals.
Family members will read the names of their loved ones aloud and place tributes at the wall near the years that they served.
"The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands for all who fought and died in this war," Scruggs said. "This annual event brings together families and friends who have sustained similar tragedies, giving them the opportunity to share stories and help each other begin healing."
"This will bring closure," Marilyn said.
After she reads the name of her husband, she will place at The Wall a picture of Jim in his uniform, pictures of their three grown children and their spouses and a photograph of the eight grandchildren that her husband never had a chance to meet.
"His grandchildren know his picture, but I wish with all my heart that they could have known him. He was a wonderful person," Marilyn said.
Then, thinking of her ring and the soldier who bought it for her, she said, "Twenty-one years wasn't anywhere near long enough."
XFor more information about the In Memory Day ceremony or for a list of honorees, go to www.vvmf.org.